How to apply for title by adverse possession
I am grateful to the readers who reminded me that a promised article about the procedure to be followed in acquiring title by adverse possession had not been published.(Let me start with the disclaimer that what I will outline below is general information provided by my firm's Conveyancing Department, and should not be substituted for the specific advice one should obtain from an Attorney-at-Law or the National Land Agency.)
A. The applicant must provide the following:
1. Information regarding acts of ownership performed in relation to the property (for example, fencing, bushing and/or clearing the property) for at least 12 years as well as confirmation that there have been no demands for the Applicant to cease utilising the property (that is, confirmation that the applicant has been in open, undisputed, undisturbed possession of the property for at least 12 years). In some instances, the period may be extended to 30 years (for example, where the registered proprietor is a person under disability) or 60 years (where the property is owned by the Crown).
2. The full names, addresses, ages, contact numbers and occupations of two persons who have known that the applicant has performed the acts of ownership for the period stated and the circumstances in which they came to know the property.
3. A certified copy of the title for the property or information regarding the property so as to allow us to obtain the certified copy of the title.
4. Information regarding any attempts which were made to locate the registered proprietors of the property.
5. The name of the person(s) physically occupying the property now as well as the names and postal addresses of all adjoining land owners and occupiers.
6. Certificate of Payment of Taxes to show that property taxes have been paid to date or information to be used to request the certificate.
7. Information as to the value of the land.
8. A Surveyor's Identification Report showing the boundaries of the land.
B. Once the information is obtained the application can be prepared, to include:
1. Application for Title Acquired by Possession exhibiting relevant documents - to be executed by the Applicant.
2. Declaration in support of the application - to be executed by the applicant.
3. Two other declarations in support of the application - to be signed by the two persons who know the property.
C. Once the documents have been executed, they are submitted to the Office of Titles where the application will be reviewed by a Referee of Titles. If satisfied with the information provided in the application, the Referee of Titles will recommend to the Registrar of Titles that provisional approval of the application be granted.
The Registrar of Titles will then issue the provisional approval and will instruct the applicant to advertise the application twice in one of the daily newspapers (usually for two consecutive weeks, seven days apart).
Once six weeks have elapsed since the last advertisement, the tear sheets from the newspaper must be submitted to the Registrar of Titles and the request made for the Registrar to issue a new title in accordance with the application.
In the event the Referee of Titles is not satisfied with the information provided in the application, further information may be required in order for the application to be provisionally approved.